NBA Draft Cautionary Retro YouTube Video -- Kwame Brown's Draft Night!
The NBA Draft is tonight, and you know what that means -- yes, bad suits, incoherent interviews, lots of Stuart Scott, and tons of upside potential. So basically, one big engrossing train wreck.
Kwame Brown on one of his many NBA teams
It used to be a virtual guarantee a few years ago that every pick in the first round would be deemed a "great pick" by analysts like Hubie Brown. That was back in the TNT days, but now ESPN has the draft as its property and Jay Bilas and Jeff Van Gundy thankfully provide a dose of perspective. And criticism. It's nice.
That said, I miss the days when every pick was hailed as correct and solid because it made for awesome retroactive viewing. Nothing like seeing footage of Michael Olowakandi being hailed as a savior or a selection of Nikolas Tskitishvili garnering the applause of people who've been around the game for decades.
So as we head toward tonight, let's remind everyone of just how inexact a science this can be, and let's do it using the 2001 selection of Kwame Brown with the first overall pick.
Note that this marks the first time someone has found a use for Kwame Brown, other than accountants and lawyers who find his bank account highly useful. So props to me!
Let's go back in time to 2001. It's draft night, and the commissioner is at the podium. Let's take a look....
0:05 -- Five seconds in, we get a four way split screen of what I presume were considered the top four players in that draft class -- Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, and Shane Battier. This snapshot unto itself should give any general manager with a top-five pick cold chills. Granted, three of them were high schoolers, and in 2012 we'd have seen them each for at least a year in college, but still. And no disrespect to Shane Battier, but after seeing now how very specialized and "role player-ish" his game is (defense, taking charges, corner three's, leadership and that's pretty much it), it's laughable to think he was considered a possibility for the first player in the draft. Seriously, how ridiculous is the scouting process sometimes?
0:48 -- Graphic shown indicating Brown is the first high schooler to be taken first overall in the draft. There would wind up being two more before the "one and done" rule was put into effect -- LeBron James in 2003 and Dwight Howard in 2004. And there's your proof that sometimes it's not just getting the first overall pick, but getting it in the right year. In retrospect, Tyson Chandler (2nd pick) and Pau Gasol (3rd) would have been better picks than Brown. Actually, a constipated hyena would have been a better pick than Kwame Brown, but the point is no one in this draft was going to be "first overall pick" worthy. Let's move on.
0:56 -- Sit down interview time, with some TNT guy in a really conservative dark suit. VERY businesslike. Who is this interviewer? He's very easy to watch and listen to. Wait....what? That's CRAIG SAGER?!? Okay, so now I need someone to find this out for me -- this video is from 2001. What year did Craig Sager come out of the suit closet and switch over to pastels and fluorescents? Help me out here.
1:37 -- Sager: "What does this decision mean to you financially?" Seriously, Sager? He's the number one pick in the fucking draft, dude. It means he's going to have a shit ton of money. What answer was Sager trying to get there? Clown question, bro.